Nine types of squats and what each one is for


Classic squat

Classic squat.
Classic squat. – Adobe Stock

It is the most famous squat known to all. This movement that simulates the gesture of sitting down and getting up from the chair has some important and necessary ‘tips’ to highlight for its correct execution:

– Feet supported at the width of your hips with the tips of the feet forward.

– Do not lift your heels off the ground.

– Extend your arms forward to give you greater balance.

– Keep your back straight. To do this, project your gaze and chest to the front.

– Try not to excessively exceed your knees from the tips of your feet, although it will depend, among other factors, on your ankle and hip mobility. On many occasions, by slightly exceeding the knee on the tip of the foot, we release pressure on the lumbar area.

Barbell squat

Barbell squat.
Barbell squat. – Adobe Stock

The movement is the same as in the classic squat, but with a weighted barbell on you. This can be located behind your neck, resting on the traps or in front (front squat) resting on your shoulders with your arms in front.

“Perhaps it may be helpful to use weightlifting shoes with a higher heel or you can use discs and support your heels on them by lifting the back of your foot slightly,” advises Álex Lamata.

Sumo squat

Sumo squat.
Sumo squat. – Adobe Stock

In this case the variation appears at our base, because we support our legs at a much greater width than that of the classic squat, with the tips of the feet pointing slightly to the sides, wanting to mark 10 and 10 on a hand clock with our feet.

“We are going to have a greater involvement of the muscles on the inside of our legs and by consciously activating our buttocks when going up, we will have a highly recommended exercise,” says the trainer.

Bulgarian squat

Bulgarian squat.
Bulgarian squat. – Adobe Stock

This is one of Álex Lamata’s favorite exercises in his weekly training plan. It is a type of squat where we first involve the muscles of one leg and then that of the other.

One leading leg over the other, we put the foot behind on a high point of support, it can be a bench, a chair, … a comfortable and optimal height for the work to be done. And all our attention goes directly to the lead leg.

Straight back. If I put it very perpendicular to the ground, I will be placing greater emphasis on the quadriceps muscles, while if I lean forward while keeping my back straight, you will be giving greater prominence to the gluteus.

Try not to support yourself.

– Try to align your hips, with your knee with your foot, preventing your knee from going in or out freely.

– Be aware of the work done in the rising phase, push hard with your heel and feel all the work until you focus on your gluteus.

– Do not go down forward, you must go down perpendicular to the ground.

– The foot that rests behind up, can do so by supporting the instep or the tip of the foot. This mainly depends on your ankle mobility and your comfort in one position or another.

Sentadilla goblet

Sentadilla goblet.
Sentadilla goblet. – Adobe Stock

This squat requires external weight to perform it. Álex Lamata indicates that, in this case, the load is ahead of us and this type of squat «can be a good variant if the fact of placing the kettlebell behind your neck or in front of you is annoying or you do not have the means to do so (cage, bar, discs …). In this type of squat and with the implication of weight in front of the body, a greater activation of the core area will be necessary to balance your body, as well as the muscles of your back.

– Support your feet slightly more open than your shoulders and looking about 30º outwards.

– Do it preferably with a Kettlebel (you could also with a dumbbell).

– Take the weight at the height of the upper part of your chest.

– Break the parallel. That is, lower as much as you can even if that means lowering your glutes below your knees.

– In the push phase (uphill), concentrate all your effort on pushing with your heels.

– Put your chest out and keep your back straight.

Jump squat

Jump squat.
Jump squat. – Adobe Stock

“You can choose different positions for your arms but, once again, the movement and base is the same. In this case, there will be a greater activation of the musculature because we are going to request a greater effort from our muscles to take our feet off the ground in the impulse phase and to absorb all the impact when falling after the flight phase “, says the expert.

“I do it with my arms naturally, but many people do this squat with their hands on the side of the head and their elbows open,” he says.

Isometric squat

Isometric squat.
Isometric squat. – Adobe Stock

In this exercise there is no movement. This proposal that Álex Lamata proposes supposes an isometric work (absence of movement) of the involved muscles. «There are two ways to do it: with wall support or without support. Personally, I prefer the squat with support on the wall, achieving greater activation of the quadriceps muscles, “he advises.

– Pretend you are sitting in a chair, the wall being your backrest.

– Form two 90º angles with your knees and with your hips.

– Try to push your feet hard against the ground as if you wanted to sink them.

– You work by time and not by repetitions. Start with short 10-15 second bursts.

– You can rest your hands on your knees.

– If you notice that your legs shake a lot during exercise, it may be normal, do not panic.

Sentadilla pistol

Sentadilla pistol.
Sentadilla pistol. – Adobe Stock

A type of squat that requires a lot of training and that not everyone can perform first. It involves performing a squat on one leg, while the other is stretched forward.

In this exercise, an interesting limiting factor may appear, such as flexibility, since with little worked flexibility it is very likely that you will need more time than normal to be able to perform it successfully and dorsiflexion of the ankle, although without a doubt, its benefits They are very high and you will be able to find options to achieve an adequate progression.

– Extend your arms forward to achieve a balanced position.

– Raise your leg slightly forward and as you go down you will need to raise it more.

– Your intention is to bring your glute from the leg resting on the floor to touch its own heel. “Obviously that is very complex but it must be your intention to achieve your goal”, alerts the coach.

– If you are a beginner, start by doing the same movement but with a chair behind. Sitting down and raising yourself to one leg over the chair.

Squat with bands

Squat with bands.
Squat with bands.

– Above the knees if we are starting. In this way it can help us to do the position in a correct way and with greater resistance.

– Below the knees if we want to work the gluteus medius a little more.

From the starting position, looking straight ahead and feet shoulder-width apart and toes slightly outward, we place the band above or below the knees, depending on the objective and level of the exercise.


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